Another early morning. Another long gravel road drive. As I opened the farm gates, I bent down to touch the grass as it is too dark to see anything. It was crisp and frozen! It was another cold morning. I again have to thank Spencer for his help this morning. Here we go, another try at a yuck beach. I actually sat in the kayak. Ready and waiting to hit the wall of cold water. But was not expecting to be sent off as quickly as it happened; my heart racing and just about sitting in my mouth! All of a sudden it was holy heck! Jase had launched me.
Now it was not a plain flat paddle out of this river mouth and this beach. It always looks simple standing on the beach. But soon it was a face full of cold sea water from the first foaming breaking wave. I pause to time the second and third waves, and then paddle so hard to get up and over the 4th wave. I was out! Then as before, I paddle 100 strokes, and then another 50 to make sure I am safely past every single possible rogue wave. Then I get my VHF out and talk to the support crew. Well I sort of tell them to just talk. I need to try and force my heart back down into my chest and to stop it beating so hard.
I listen to Jase and we chat about the next checkpoint. He is very happy I am on the water, now it is all up to me to nail some decent kilometres. I have to say it takes me about 4km to settle down and realise I am not just paddling in circles, but actually paddling north!! Each kilometre that ticks over is a step closer to Farewell Spit. Yes the water is cold, but the sun is out and this coastline is extremely majestic. Spencer you were correct the holes in the rocks and the cliffs climbing towards the sky make me wish I could stop and take more pictures, but today I have to concentrate on keeping going; the wind is going to pickup as I get around the coast. At Paturau river I do my first checkpoint; Whanganui Inlet my second. I think of the other paddlers' stories about this nasty bar and their crossings. Not me today, as I watch the sea spray get blown backwards off the waves.
Kaihoka Farm beach. Standing on his own Jason is there for the 3rd checkpoint. He had to run to get there in time. Now it is me and the wind for the next 16km. Archway Islands, Wharariki Beach, Cape Farewell, Pillar Point. I kept going until I could see the Pink crew shirt on the beach at the base of Farewell Spit. Fossil Point Beach I think it is called. Anyway I am now focused on the small surf hammering into the beach for my landing. I want this to be perfect like the start of my day. Well was it perfect! Nearly. But tired arms caused me to finish up in the water ankle deep! I am happy and strip off my wet cold gear and clamber into warm clothes.
Thanks Jason for the thermos of hot sweet lemon tea. We sit away from the cold wind against the sand dunes in the sun drinking tea and scoffing crisps. Then it is a 2.6km walk back to Cuzzie. It was a little slower than normal as I am tired and my legs did not wish to co-operate and walk that quickly. The campsite is sorted, and clothes are in a dryer getting clean and warm. I am one happy, tired person tonight. It's incredible to be one step further up the coast. I'm actually not really sure what it will feel like once I round the Spit, but I will be sure to let you know.
The support crew have worked as hard as me today. With all the driving (100km plus) and running across farm land and Farewell Spit tracks (15km at least in total), and with the stress of trying to launch me into the waves AND catch me on landing. For the record it is no winter holiday for them either. It has been a great team effort. Just got dinner to cook and the weather forecast to check. Then to bed.
My smiles today:
I have moved north. Biggest Smiles.
There is a pet rabbit bouncing around the campsite! That is cute.
The scenery is beautiful.
Support crew smiles.
Eating crisps on the warm sand dunes.
My thoughts today:
When you stop and look around, this life is pretty amazing.
Goodnight from Red and Jase.
Ma Te Wa.